You may or may not have noticed that I have a slight obsession with Excel… even more so when it comes to tracking my training. Luckily my boss also humors me and allows me to color-code the work related logs I have to keep… But that is a whole other ball of wax.
If you are new here, you may have missed the first post I did about my excel obsession. I have a second one in the works as well.
But surely you have seen my weekly training reports… All of which include brief glimpses of my training log.And they really are glimpses because I have many excels, all of which track different things and most of which have built in formula’s. I often joke that, “I have an excel for that” and in all reality, I likely do…
I have also mentioned many times that my training logs have evolved over the years. In fact, the first 5 full months of my half marathon training in 2010 were recorded in a paper log (and at a later date added to excel). So my first excel training log was in June 2010. I figured why not show you all how my Log has evolved over the years. And perhaps, if you are new to training logs, this may give you a little help in how to start your own.
I remember when I started my log, I had no idea what to keep track of. I was training specifically for one race and after 5 months of slowly but surely building up my mileage, I knew I needed to start being diligent about my long runs and my weekly mileage. After looking at a ton of half marathon plans and not liking any of them, I decided it was best to create my own. I laid out what I would need for a weekly long run and then filled in the rest based on where I wanted to be for the weekly mileage. I also wanted a count down until race day (a practice I still keep but on a separate excel now). My pace at the time was roughly 11:00… in reality it was more 10:30/11:00 depending on the day but I assumed an 11:00 pace because so I knew about how long run each run would take me. This was pretty basic and rough but it served its purpose at the time. I was also playing volleyball weekly, so I counted that as cross-training of sorts. It also helped to know when I had volleyball and thus would be less likely to run. I was also putting a lot of emphasis on the planned miles versus the actually run miles. I think that helped me at the time but I never did actually run all the miles I had planned.
2011 wasn’t much more advanced than 2010… except, I did start from the beginning of the year. I had been assigning myself miles to run per day/week and what not but if I fell behind then I would just delete them as if I never had a plan. I did at least start to do a lot more strength training, which I tracked. But at the same time, it would be nice to know more specifically what I did when I strength trained. I do know that I was lifting the same way I did in college and I was using mostly machines so I have a vague idea of what I was doing. However, looking back, it would be nice to see what weight/reps I was doing so I could see improvement (if there was any).
I started to get a little more fancy in 2012. More colors to divide things up and keeping track of more information. Specifically, I started to add pace. I also started to track how many miles I was at for the week. In 2011, I had started to pay attention to weekly mileage, mostly to avoid the too much too soon issue which caused my IT Band injury. So if I ended up having to take time off, I would add up the mileage so I knew where I could be when I started back up again. In 2012, I started to keep track of that information so I wouldn’t have to go back and add it up manually if I took some time off. And as you can clearly see, I had major issues with sticking with my planned mileage.
In 2013, I got a lot more fancy. I built in a formula for weekly mileage totals because I was tired of having to manually add it up or transport that data from one excel to another. I had reverted back to my old way of needing to run a certain number of days per week instead of miles so I was no longer sticking to a “Plan” for running. Miles, overall time and pace became regular things to look at because I found it was data I was seeking out. Everything got it’s own color… I, personally, find it easier to read. If I am looking for something specific then I can just focus on the color. I also started to actually keep the races on the calendar that I took a DNS on. I used to just remove them from the calendar but found that I was going back to see what races I had signed up for that I did not run. I had discovered that there was no shame in failing at the goals I had set, so there was no point in hiding/removing that data. I decided transparency was a good policy.
That brings us to this year. Not too much has changed since 2013. I do like having my weekly mileage all laid out for me so I can just glance. I also create a new color-code if something new comes up… like a run streak. I did start to bold more because I found the contrast better. Strength training does appear on the main log when I do it… but I keep strength training details on a separate excel now… and yes, you will be seeing that in the future.
Is all of this a little crazy? Probably. Do I expect you to do the same thing? Absolutely not! This is for me. This is the information that I want to see and track. And yes, it does change. I have no idea what it will look like 5 years from now or I will even still have a training log (very little change I won’t though). What and how you choose to track your training is completely for you.